Would you rather have the thighs of a ballerina, a bodybuilder, or a flexible yoga master? Perhaps your goal is to build legs like a skater or skier. It doesn’t really matter. If you’re trying to shape lean, tight legs, the best exercises borrow from each of these activities.
So do you have to master each sport to get a better body? Nope. Simply train using techniques from each discipline to get strong, fit thighs that look fabulous. Try these 5 At-Home Exercises for Stronger Thighs.
Start with your legs slightly wider than hip distance apart in “second position.” Feet are rotated out slightly so that your knees bend directly over your toes. Lower your body weight, keeping the pelvis under your shoulders and thighs rotated out. Lift your body weight to return to the starting position, and then repeat. For a greater challenge, lift the heels off the ground as you move your body in and out of plié position.
Start in a plank position with your body weight on your hands and feet. Step the right foot forward next to your right hand. Rotate the left foot outward slightly so you feel the outside of your foot against the ground or the mat. Now lift your arms over your head, using the muscles in your thighs and core to control the movement. Keep the front leg bent so that there is a 45 to 90-degree bend at the knee. Hold this position for five breaths, then repeat on the left.
Start standing on both feet with your weight centered. Now leap to the right, landing only on the right leg. Try not to put your left foot down. Repeat on the left. Repeat the sequence 7-10 times.
Start standing with a weight bench or TRX straps behind you. Elevate one leg behind you so your leg is lifted to thigh height. Place the foot of the lifted leg in the TRX strap or on the bench. Now lower your body weight into a lunge position, maintaining your balance as lower and lift. Do 7-10 reps on the right leg, then repeat on the left. Add 5-10 pound dumbbells for a greater challenge.
Stand next to a chair or ballet barre. Place your heels together and rotate your feet outward slightly into “first position.” Keeping your heels pressed forward, extend your right leg in front of you with enough power to lift the leg off the ground to hip height. Return your leg to the starting position using your thigh muscles to control the movement. Repeat the same movement to the side and then to the back. Repeat four cycles on the right, then switch sides and repeat four cycles on the left.
Start standing on two feet with knees soft. Bend your knees and jump 1-2 feet to the right, landing on both feet. Keep your knees soft as you land. Repeat the move jumping to the left. Repeat the sequence 7-10 times.
Start standing with feet together. Raise your arms over your head, keeping the shoulders relaxed. Now drop your hips as if you are sitting into an imaginary chair. Hold the pose for 60-90 seconds. For an extra challenge, move into eagle pose by wrapping the right leg over and around the left. Balance in eagle pose for 60 seconds before returning to chair pose and repeating on the left.
Start standing with your feet together. If you have TRX straps, hold them in front of your chest with the straps tight. Take a big step to the right and lower your body weight slowly so that the left foot touches behind your right – similar to a curtsy movement. Repeat the movement to the left. Do 7-10 repetitions with TRX straps or dumbbells for added resistance.
9. Wall Squat w/ Ball
Stand with your back against a solid wall. Hold a lightweight ball or a weighted medicine ball in your hands. Lower your back against the wall until you are in a seated position with hips and knees, maintaining a 90-degree angle. Now place the medicine ball between your knees and squeeze your thighs together to hold the ball. Hold this position for 60-90 seconds.
Start standing in front of a solid box or bench. Hold a 5-10 pound dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your chest lifted, step onto the box with the right leg. Touch your left foot down slightly then lower your body weight back down onto the ground. Repeat 7-10 times on the right, then do 7-10 reps on the left.